In order to be as healthy as possible, it is important to understand that one cannot be healthy and thrive if they are not getting enough sleep. Sleep is so important that it is a part of the healing protocol that is used by all FDN practitioners. This is because it is recognized that without a good sleep practice, the body cannot heal. But how much is enough? The experts don’t always agree, and sleep needs vary from person to person. But we’ve found that women need about an hour more per day than men. And research shows that teenagers need the most….usually an hour more than women.
How do you know if you are getting enough sleep? The way to know that you are both healthy and getting enough rest is if you can get up in the morning feeling refreshed. And that you consistently have enough energy to be active throughout the day and into the evening hours. Of course, some people are naturally slow starters, even with adequate rest. But once they get going, they have seemingly endless energy well into the night. This could be normal for them, just as others can hit the floor running at first light but fade more easily at night and hit the pillow early.
Both these scenarios represent healthy rest cycles, as long as the person is actually entering deep, restful and restorative sleep for at least 7, 8 or 9 hours depending on age, gender and metabolic type. Unfortunately poor sleep is one of the most common symptoms today and there are a number of reasons people aren’t getting enough rest. In any case, getting to bed and getting a good night’s sleep is part of all FDN protocols. We’ll discuss some of the problems we see every day as FDN practitioners.
Women and Sleep
With the monthly rise and fall of hormone levels and the changes their bodies go through during pregnancy and menopause, it’s no wonder that women are more likely than men to have difficulty falling and staying asleep. A recent survey by the Better Sleep Council indicated that almost 70 percent of U.S. women sleep less than the recommended eight hours per night. If you are not getting enough shut-eye, then take heed, because lack of sleep has been linked to increased health risks in a number of areas such as heart disease, obesity, and chronic fatigue.
So, why are women having trouble getting enough sleep? Stress from work or family, anxiety, illness, allergies, and diet factors such as too much caffeine, sugar, or alcohol, are just some of the reasons. FDN practitioners are able to determine the underlying issues through their investigative assessments.
We cannot completely control our stress levels, but we can try to slow down in the evening, relax or meditate for a few minutes, and prepare our bodies for a good night’s sleep. As we’ve already noted, adequate, restorative sleep prepares us to lead a productive day.
Improving your quality and quantity of sleep
If you suspect you need to improve your quality and quantity of sleep, we suggest you get a complete assessment from a certified FDN practitioner. In the meantime, here are some hints for getting you the sleep your body deserves:
- Get plenty of regular exercise and try to complete your workout at least 3 hours before bedtime. Exercise increases the amount of deep sleep you get. Aerobic exercise each day and weight lifting twice a week is optimum.
- Avoid nicotine (this is only one reason you shouldn’t smoke). Nicotine can lead to fragmented sleep if used close to bedtime.
- Eat dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Turn off your gadgets before bed! The blue light from smart phones, computers, tablets and even television can impact melatonin levels and prevent you from getting to sleep.
- Take 30 minutes before bed to use for relaxing. Take a soak in a soothing warm bath, meditate, do some deep breathing, read a book, or listen to some calming music.
- Avoid products containing caffeine. If you have trouble sleeping, this is very important! Do not consume caffeine after 2pm if you have trouble sleeping. This includes chocolate, which is rich in caffeine.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime as if can interfere with your sleep later in the night.
- Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar. As your sugar level drops during the night, your sleep may be disrupted.
- Establish regular times for going to bed and for waking up.
- Improve the sleep environment, i.e. comfortable mattress and pillows, quiet, dark, comfortable room temperature.
- Don’t drink liquids before bedtime. Drinking liquids before bed time could be causing you to wake up because you have to urinate.
- Supplements can also help with sleeping.
The best approach to getting adequate sleep is to try the suggestions above. If these don’t work, don’t let this condition go unattended.
Cortisol, Stress and Insomnia
There is a hormone in your body that controls when you wake up and when you fall asleep named Cortisol. Blood Cortisol levels are supposed to be high in the morning and low in the evening. The high levels in the morning help you wake up and the low levels in the evening help you feel tired in preparation for sleep. As stated, many FDN clients come to us with insomnia.
Upon testing Cortisol levels, we find that Cortisol levels are often exactly opposite of what they should be.
Using Adrenal Stress Profile we often discover that Cortisol levels are too high in the evening. This can happen due to a number of reasons including eating too late or being exposed to bright lights. But even a parasite infestation can impact cortisol levels. If the problem persists, and FDN practitioner will continue their investigation until the root cause is uncovered.
Urinating During the Night
Many people don’t sleep well throughout the night because they are awakened throughout the night by the need to urinate. This may be caused by too much coffee or fluid consumption at night. So it is best to not drink fluids close to bedtime. But excessive thirst or urination can also be caused by a disease called Diabetes Insipidus.
Diabetes Insipidus is caused by a deficiency in the hormone Vasopressin or Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH). This is one of the main hormones that helps the body retain the water it needs. If a person doesn’t make enough ADH, then they may become chronically dehydrated. Diabetes Insipidus can cause dehydration, joint pain, vertebral disc dehydration, cartilage problems, dizziness, and fatigue. It is documented by urine and blood tests.
Do you have pain that is keeping you up at night? We find that many people struggle with insomnia as the result chronic pain. The best ways we have found to relieve pain is through chiropractic and acupuncture treatments. If you have pain keeping you awake, then making an appointment with a good chiropractor or acupunturist could be the key to a good night’s sleep.
Adequate sleep is the key to good health so it is vital that you are getting enough. If you’ve been trying everything you can to get better sleep and are still having an issue with insomnia or sleep issues, then make an appointment with an FDN Practitioner to help you investigate why you are not getting all the rest you need.